By Karen Andrew and Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Edgewood, Ky., native and Army Maj. David Joseph Goetz's lifelong goal was to serve the public. Having served as an attorney in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Senate, he had planned to return to Kentucky and seek political office.
However, his life was cut short by melanoma cancer and he died Monday at his home in Arlington, Va. He was 34.
"He made his mark on the world that most people won't make in an entire lifetime," said longtime friend and fellow lawyer John S. "Brook" Brooking, of Francisville, Boone County, Ky.
"He knew everyone. He was motivated, driven, funny and personable. You can't say anything bad about him. I was blessed to know him and I will truly miss him."
Born in Cincinnati in 1969 to Mary and Dave Goetz, he graduated from Covington Catholic High School in 1987 and Xavier University in 1991. As a ranking member of the Army ROTC, he completed training at the Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga. in 1988.
Maj. Goetz was commissioned by the U.S. Army after graduation but deferred active duty until after he graduated in 1994 from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University.
He completed the Army Judge Advocate General Officer Basic Training School and began active duty in the JAG Corps in 1995 as a captain. He met his wife Victoria Marie Gradyin Alabama and they were married in 1997.
Shortly after he was married, Maj. Goetz was stationed with the "Big Red One" - the 1st Infantry Division in Vilseck, Germany - where he served as the chief prosecutor for the base for a year.
He earned numerous medals and awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal three times and the National Defense Service Medal.
Maj. Goetz resigned his Army commission in May 2001 to accept a position as staff attorney to U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., in the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. Having previously interned with U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in 1989, it was his lifelong dream to work on Capitol Hill.
After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as a member of the Army National Guard, Maj. Goetz was recalled to serve seven months of active duty at the Pentagon.
His assignment was secret and he was not able to tell his family and friends what he did. However, it was during this time that he was promoted to major.
Survivors include his wife of six years; a daughter, Kendall; his parents, Mary and Dave Goetz;, a sister, Mary Kay Goetz, and his grandfather Tommy Reis, all of Edgewood, Ky.
Visitation is 6-8 p.m. today at the Demaine Funeral Home, 520 S. Washington, Alexandria, Va. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, King and Pitt streets, Alexandria, Va. He will be buried at Quantico National Cemetery, Triangle, Va.
Memorials: Melanoma Research Foundation, 23704-5 El Toro Road, #206, Lake Forest, CA 92630.
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